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My DIY Dash recovering - experimenting without seams

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Old 01-26-2018, 08:03 PM
  #1  
Michael Benno
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Default My DIY Dash recovering - experimenting without (with) seams

I am midway through my dash wrap experimentation and I thought I would share my results, insights and pose a few questions.

Here are some reference threads that I am cross linking to:
- https://rennlist.com/forums/928/8028...h-recover.html
- https://rennlist.com/forums/928-foru...ow-to-fix.html

Caveats: Yes I am aware of Robert Bud's awesome products and services, in fact, I am using him for new carpet and recovering some sport seats. However, I wanted to try this myself on this spare dash. My original dash is off getting recovered by a local professional. Also, I wanted to use vinyl over leather as a personal preference. Yes I know some folks prefer leather over vinyl and prefer the stitched look. I prefer vinyl and no stiches.

I started off removing the original plastic covering off the foam in a previous thread: DIY Dash Recovering: Removing original vinyl + Crack Repair.

I ordered up some Porsche OEM dark blue vinyl from Global Upholstery. 2 yards was about $60. I needed a little more than 1 yard. In hindsight I would and probably gotten away with a single yard but wanted to have some extra since this was an experiment.

Here are some photo of my progress so far. I have made some mistakes and I will likely remove the vinyl and start over with a fresh piece but I figured I would continue to fit the vinyl and continue learning.

Here you can see I have too much material on the end and no way to move it off to one side or the other. Subsequently I will need to cut out the middle and have a seam. Here is where I would have wrapped the outside edge first and then gather the excess material in the opening for the pod.


Things are going pretty smoothly, but in my hast, I my cuts are uneven. Better scissors needed If you look closely you can see a riser on the top. that is a covered over crack.


You can see some imperfections on the substrate. better prep required.



This corner was particularly tricky until I poked with a screwdriver. I will admit the trim job is messy. The vinyl is actually a lot tougher to cut than I thought. Use a strong sharp blade which enough to put firm pressure on. In these corners use a 45-degree angle so you don't catch an edge like I did.


Here you can see the problem with finishing on the ends. There is too much material and no way to pull out the excess. I tried to pull as much as I could.



I ran into the same problem on the other side. I decide to cut the excess out and create seam.



These defroster vents didn't turn out as well as I would have liked. I need more material to fold over but can't figure out how to get more in there without pulling to foam off of the metal base. Also I struggled with how to best form the corners.






Key Insights so far:
  1. The surface prep needs to much smother than I thought. I filled the cracks and sanded them smooth, but I did not account for the fact that the area around the cracks had risen. All this shows through the vinyl. I suggest filling and sanding and using a straight edge to ensure everything is flat, AND smooth.
  2. Make sure the glue is more tacky. I put a single coat on the dash and the vinyl and let both dry or a couple days. This was great because the vinyl was easy to work with and I could tack the material down and move it if I needed to. But it make the initial bonding weaker and it became problematic in tight areas like corners, vents, et. that required the material to be forced in directions it didnít want to go. I found I had to re-apply a second coat to get these areas to stick.
  3. I would recommend starting laying down the vinyl on the windshield edge of the dash first. And then work my way down the sides to the vent holes to ensure those are smooth. Then use the openings for the pod and glove box to gather/cut out the slack material. I stared from the center of the dash and worked outward. This created a problem at both ends and no place to deal with the extra which required cutting out the excess and creating seams. I would deduce that outside in approach would be better.
  4. Use the side vent inserts and glove box to hold down the vinyl once you have it trimmed an glued.
  5. You need 3 good hands. One person to hold the heat gun and two hands to pull and smooth. I had a broken elbow and no assistants and so my results suffered.
  6. You need a very sharp knife and scissors.
  7. For all you OCDíers. When cutting relief slits, use a scissors not a knife for cleaner cuts. Meter out the cuts at roughly equal increments. And when wrapping material over the edges. Trim the material to an equal length wrap using a ruler and marker.
  8. A wide flat blade screw driver or a 1Ē foam roller handle (no roller just the metal finger exposed) work good for getting the vinyl to anchor in corners.

Things I donít have figured out yet:
  1. A good way to finish the defroster vents. I tried using heat to stretched the material into place. But the elasticity just retracted back as soon as it cooled. I cut a slit in the middle but that did not leave much material to wrap around. Also I cut a Y at each end of the vent but that did not create a good round curve. How do I do the vents better?
  2. I would appreciate insights on how others have wrapped vinyl around the edges without seams.
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Last edited by Michael Benno; 02-13-2018 at 06:11 PM.
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Old 01-26-2018, 09:30 PM
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Captain_Slow
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Looking great so far. I've often thought about putting the finished recovered dash in a huge vacuum press (bag). There was a guy with a sort of exotic hand-made furniture show on HGTV years ago. He would do really interesting glue-lam projects and apply his own interesting hand-made veneers (lots of mirrored grain patterns) to large flat pieces. He made frequent use of very large vacuum presses. I imagine a vacuum press would rapidly degas adhesives, and more importantly apply 14.7 lbs to every square inch of the vinyl while the adhesive cures.
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Old 01-27-2018, 12:39 AM
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Mikebte
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You have done a good job from what I can see, I contemplate doing this on mine soon. But I think I’ll go with stickers and seams. Post more photos of progress, super cool.

What adhesives are you using?
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Old 01-27-2018, 01:43 AM
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I agree, great job.
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Old 01-27-2018, 01:59 AM
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Michael Benno
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Originally Posted by Mikebte View Post
You have done a good job from what I can see, I contemplate doing this on mine soon. But I think Iíll go with stickers and seams. Post more photos of progress, super cool.

What adhesives are you using?


From Home Depot and recommended by Robert Budd
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Old 01-27-2018, 06:17 AM
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Nicole
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Instant "HERO" status!!!
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Old 01-27-2018, 07:40 AM
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Vinyl is hands down the best dashboard material. It won't shrink and warp like leather does when exposed to direct sunlight.

Great job BTW, those corners can be really finicky to get right.
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Old 01-27-2018, 11:08 AM
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Looks great Benno -

i am am getting ready to do that job myself so I am following with great interest.

-scott
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Old 01-27-2018, 01:46 PM
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watching with interest as well , as this project is in my future. +1 on contact cement, I have used it for many interior projects already

James
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Old 01-27-2018, 02:50 PM
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James Bailey
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When Porsche leather wrapped the dash they had to use defroster vent inserts to retain the material. Perhaps you need those too.
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Old 01-27-2018, 05:12 PM
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Ghosteh
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I've thought about doing this often.

There is a stretchable vinyl that would be interesting to try. I think you would need 4-way stretch vinyl to make it work. Google search shows a lot of suppliers, and you can also get some on amazon. I was considering trying it on an older pod first, using solid black. But I don't think it comes in (or would work) with early dashes that have light & dark coloring in the vinyl, like my brown dash.
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Old 01-27-2018, 05:22 PM
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Ghosteh -

Tell me more about your concerns about covering a brown early dash as you mention ^, if you donít mind.

thanks

-scott
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Old 01-27-2018, 06:03 PM
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Hymodyne
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How difficult is it to remove/reinstall the entire dash panel?
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Old 01-27-2018, 06:07 PM
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Michael Benno
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Originally Posted by Hymodyne View Post
How difficult is it to remove/reinstall the entire dash panel?
if you commit to it you can remove it in about 2hrs. I accidentally did it while working on the rear ac seals. Look for the dash removal resource in the new member sticky post
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Old 01-27-2018, 06:59 PM
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Originally Posted by drscottsmith View Post
Ghosteh -

Tell me more about your concerns about covering a brown early dash as you mention ^, if you don’t mind.

thanks

-scott
The vinyl portions of the early cars is not a solid color, but a mottled, swirling color. If you had that type of vinyl and stretched it tightly around a corner or edge, I think it would show in the pattern. Maybe I'm wrong (I hope that I am), but it's something that I can see being an issue. But it might be a mute issue, because I can't seem to find any stretch vinyl in anything other than a solid color.

I would really like to try, or see someone else try if they can find something that works. I did buy something that was similar in color to the original vinyl, but it's not at all stretch and I doubt that I'd get it to work. That's the other issue; whatever I use on the dash has to be used on everything else (door panels, headliner, trim, etc.) or it's going to look wrong, IMHO.

Last edited by Ghosteh; 01-27-2018 at 09:16 PM.
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